A powerful study in pain of divorce

October 31, 1997|By Chris Hewitt | Chris Hewitt,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

The wrenching film "Hollow Reed" confronts more hot-button issues than an entire season of "Melrose Place": divorce, custody battles, homosexuality, the difficulty of relying on children's court testimony and more.

Ollie (Sam Bould) is a quiet, somber child who spends a lot of time alone. His parents, Martin (Martin Donovan) and Hannah (Joely Richardson), are divorced, and both live with male lovers. The parents don't get along, but they're good people, and they're both concerned when Ollie offers mysterious explanations for a variety of bruises and breaks.

We suspect that child abuse is involved, and "Hollow Reed" becomes increasingly tough to watch because the gifted Bould is so good at conveying the mystification of a child forced to figure out the rules of adults.

I wish "Hollow Reed" had probed more deeply into its characters' psyches, but "Hollow Reed" is still an honest, adult attempt to show how many lives divorce can affect.

5/8

'Hollow Reed'

Starring Joely Richardson and Martin Donovan

Directed by Angela Pope

Released by Cinepix Film Properties

Unrated (nudity, language)

Sun score: ***

Pub Date: 10/31/97

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